Purpose Food experience is gaining importance in the increase of sustainable competitiveness of tourism businesses, hence the importance of food consumption measurement in the context of recent gastronomic trends. However, to the best of the authors' knowledge, there is not any appropriate scale to measure food consumption in the context of recent gastronomic trends. This study aims to fill this gap by developing and validating a scale that tends to measure tourists' food preferences. Design/methodology/approach This is an explorative study with its unique construction and methodological approach. More specifically, scale development procedures were followed through reviewing the literature and gathering the opinions of 20 experts, and then the primary data were collected through the survey applied to 248 foreign visitors to Turkey. Finally, the subsequent survey was applied to 628 foreign visitors to Turkey for the sake of validity. Findings This study reveals a scale and validates it. The scale development and validation processes resulted in a three-factor model with 14 items to assess food consumption tendencies: modernist cuisine tendencies, fusion cuisine tendencies and local cuisine tendencies. Research limitations/implications This study contributes to the relevant knowledge accumulation by developing and validating a scale measuring food consumption tendencies within the frame of recent gastronomic trends. The authors hope to broaden understanding and utilization of the tendencies and trends by both stakeholders in the tourism industry and academic circles. Originality/value To the best of the authors' knowledge, this study is one of the first food consumption scale development and validation attempts within the frame of recent gastronomic trends. Considering this, it is hoped that the outcomes are unique and lead academia and practitioners in further research.